Five Things You Didn’t Know About: Your period

You'd think if you deal with something monthly for twenty years (or more…or less, if you were given special commendations by not-so benevolent period fairy), you'd already be considered an expert. So why, when it comes to our time of the month, do we still leak? Why, when we buy tampons in giant bulk boxes, are we always out of them completely when we have a surprise start date? And after all those trips to the feminine hygiene aisle and hours in dreadful health classes, why do we still have so many questions about what's going on in our bodies on those crazy, crazy days?

Gynecologists say that they field lots of menstruation queries that generally (ahem) pool into five FAQs. A few of the good doctors over at WebMD have addressed those typical questions here. Apparently, we all want to know more about:

1. PMS -
Why we get it, when we get it and how we can control it. Did you know that rapidly changing hormone levels up to ten days before your period cause the PMS symptoms that can be irritating or completely debilitating? See? You arent't dreaming up things, you really are just period-wacky most of the month.

2. Irregular cycles - A "regular" cycle registers anywhere from 25-35 days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period. You shouldn't expect your period to land on the same day each month and you should know that all kinds of outside influencers, namely stress, can impact the regularity of your cycle.

3. Getting pregnant during your period - Is it possible? Sort of, the answer seems. Reading these gyne's advice tells me that most women need to first determine whether they've had a full, normal period or have simply been spotting.

4. Period = not pregnant - This also isn't necessarily true. You could be experiencing early pregnancy bleeding, and again, the key seems to be paying attention to whether or not your period progresses and whether other signs of pregnancy are present.

5. Tampons and toxic shock syndrome - Most of us know about the TSS hype from 1980s news stories and from the scary diagrams and warnings stuffed into tampon boxes. Most of us don't know how long we can leave the durn things in before we're at risk for sickness. The docs say (safely) to read those crazy pamphlets for the definitive time the tampon maker suggests, but that generally, you're good changing tampons at least every four to six hours.

For more on these five biggies, click here. What else do you want to know?

[photo credit: Paper or plastic?/Flickr]